Tracy and I went on a quick weekend getaway in January. Tracy was in the final stages of pregnancy. We needed some us time. We tried out the staycation concept and headed to the Dirty D (Durham). Trace found a great deal online to stay at the Washington Duke Inn (swank hotel on Duke’s campus). Downtown Durham is about 25 minutes from where we live – so it’s close enough that you don’t feel like you’re driving forever and far enough that you get a totally different feel.
We checked into the hotel early and had some time to kill before dinner so we decided to read a bit. There was a magazine sitting on the bed; the cover story was on Richard Brodhead’s thirteen years of leadership as President of Duke University. It was a fascinating read about a unique man and a historic leader who is beloved by students, faculty, and alumni alike.
The article highlighted the change that Duke has experienced within the last thirty years as the school has established itself among the top-ranking universities in the nation. It also described how President Brodhead has undergone his own development phase from having spent decades at Yale to being a Dukie through-and-through. Brodhead’s quote stopped me in my tracks because for the first time in months, I could put words to what Tracy and I had been feeling about all the recent transition in our lives.
“You know, the funny thing is everybody knows I was at one place for decades. It was assumed that I was a lifer there. When I came to Duke, it was the beginning of a new life. I worried, would I be homesick? Would I even like it here? But what I never properly estimated was how thrilling it is to get a whole new life.”
I immediately jumped out of the bed and read the quote to Tracy. She looked at me with those big pretty blue eyes and said, “that is exactly how we feel!”
In my blog last week, I talked about how scared we had become thinking about the prospect of moving to a new city, new state, new church, new job, in the middle of the school semester, with Tracy being 8 months pregnant. Absolute craziness. We loved Jacksonville. We loved living three minutes away from Tracy’s mom. We loved the beach. We loved our friends and family there. We loved our young professionals. We loved how Luke and Noah we’re in an environment where they were treasured. Many assumed (including us) that we would be residents in Jacksonville for life. It was a challenging season for us. Thankfully, our marriage became stronger than ever as we journeyed through the desert together…but it was the desert and our souls were dry.
However, since moving to North Carolina we’ve experienced an oasis of hospitality and love. Tracy and I have often looked at each other, dumbfounded from the graciousness and generosity of Hopesters. Dozens and dozens of people from Hope have spent time with us, loved on us, brought us meals, etc. Our souls have been enlivened with all the new relationships we have now. It feels amazing to be in a church that loves you right where you are (literally Hope’s vision statement). I never properly estimated how thrilling it is to be welcomed to a whole new family.
We are absolutely in love with the Triangle. There are so many wonderful places to experience. From hitting up old record stores in downtown Durham, to beautiful sunny days at Pullen Park in Raleigh, to the quaint feel of Apex. We’ve had a blast discovering new parks, restaurants and museums. It’s been exhilarating driving winding country roads, looking at neighborhoods we might want to move to when we buy a house. I never properly estimated how thrilling it is to live in a whole new place.
The prospect of moving to a new city, job, church can be daunting. And it should be if you’ve lived life right! If you’ve invested in relationships, loved your neighbors, served your community, poured yourself out. Don’t be dismayed at the magnitude of your upcoming move. Trust in God. That trust is developed when we remember His faithfulness to provide for us.
In Deuteronomy 7 – 8, Moses challenges the Israelites to remember how God delivered them from the Egyptians, led them through the wilderness, fed them manna when they were hungry. As Christians, we are in the business of remembering. It is through this reflection where our perspectives are recalibrated to the promises of God. We become hopeful instead of fearful and excited instead of intimidated. It truly is thrilling to experience God’s promises in a whole new way.
God’s recent provision is yet another sign and wonder in our life. We will remember it.
We are creatures of habit. The desire for comfort is ingrained in the human psyche. We never wanted to leave Jacksonville, but we are thankful we did. I want to encourage you today that if you are faced with anxiety over an upcoming move – if you’re fearful about living in a new place and wondering if you’ll like it – trust God that He has you right where He wants you. Believe that He’ll make the necessary doors open and cause everything to align in His own timing. Finally, understand that whatever move you make, your life will change in a significant way. That’s ok, because it really is thrilling to get a whole new life.
I’m Harold Dorrell Briscoe. Thanks for reading.